Singapore

Been there, done that

TNP did not shy away from putting its reporters in uncomfortable positions to give readers a fresh, first-person perspective on the news. Here are some of the classic ones

BEGGAR FOR A DAY

May 14, 1991

Beggars were being flown in from overseas by syndicates to make up to $100 a day here.

This prompted then sub-editor Herbert Fernandez to 'beg' at Serangoon Road, Chinatown and Raffles Place and find out. He wrote: "The hardest part about begging was to look people in the eye... At Serangoon Road, I wanted to flee out of fear of meeting a familiar face."

When interviewed, some said they were generally sympathetic towards beggars. But they also could not tell the difference between real and fake beggars.


STALKER FOR A DAY

Sept 26, 1992

Two Japanese women tourists were raped in their hotel room by a man who had followed them there.

In a test of local hotel security, then-reporter Dave Ang was sent to six top hotels to see how easily he could gain access to hotel rooms as an outsider. He loitered around guest lobbies and corridors, and acted suspiciously.

He managed to follow two young Japanese women to the door of their room. Only one hotel stopped him - Raffles Hotel -when he tried to climb over a parapet wall and was promptly caught by security officers.


21ST CENTURY JOSEPH AND MARY

Dec 26, 2001

It was the week before Christmas. Dressed in a conspicuous burqa, then-reporter Denyse Yeo, accompanied by an actor, Melvinder, visited four of Singapore's finest hotels.

Pretending to be a Central Asian couple who had just a bag and $40, they sought to find out which ones were willing to grant them a night's shelter.

The test, conducted in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was based on Mr Ravi Veloo's No Room at the Inn, a modern version of Joseph and Mary's search for an inn.

Only one hotel tried phoning for help. They could not take them in.


PRISONER FOR A NIGHT

Sept 24, 2005

Fancy paying RM50 (S$16) for a night in Johor Baru Prison (Penjara Johor Baru)?

To promote its Life Behind Bars programme, journalists were invited to give it a go.

Then-reporter Andre Yeo (in glasses) was sent to experience what it was like to be an inmate for a night at the 130-year-old prison, which moved its inmates to new prisons.

Besides dealing with mosquitoes, cockroaches and agonising boredom, he also had to use the bucket system - twice. He slept just two hours.